Tag Archives: CAT Practitioner Training

Reflections on a CAT Journey

In this blog, Jenny Marshall looks back over how she became involved with Catalyse. She joined us in 2021 to lead the Personal Reformulation workstream. Jenny has recently started another role with the Practitioner Training team as a core trainer. There have been a number of steps along the way as she’s grown in her readiness to take on such roles. Her blog aims to unpick these, and to encourage others who may be interested in becoming more involved.

I’m writing to say how I have found myself as a member of the Catalyse CAT Practitioner course team. Catalyse have been reaching out for a few years to ensure the continued delivery of the course and other work. This has been prompted by those who started it retiring one by one. I hope this encourages others who may want to contribute to the future of CAT in the North of England to take steps on their journey.

The starting place: CAT Practitioner training

I started my CAT training a number of years ago. Whilst the service plan had always been for me to work towards supervisor status after practitioner training, I gave this little thought at the beginning. Instead, I enjoyed the Practitioner Training run by Catalyse. The long days travelling to Manchester were worth it. It has always struck me how much learning is inspired by being in the presence of others. These days were not only a welcome break from the day to day job but a space to think and develop. They always left me invigorated despite the tiredness from the 6am starts.

A further step: CAT Supervisor training

Years later when I began my supervisor training, I arrived at the residential similarly tired. This time I could attribute it to the early stages of pregnancy, but again had a similar experience. Despite the tiredness, I was alert and engaged when asked what sort of CAT we were. ‘Scaredy CAT’ and ‘Fraudulent CAT’ resonated as I didn’t feel ready to supervise others when there was so much to learn. But knowing this was definitely on my map (high standards, critical and not good enough). So I persevered with trying to hold a ’good enough’ position and I am glad that I did.

The last couple of years have been the toughest for many health professionals and particularly working in the NHS. Holding a relational way of thinking, even in my ability to notice that I was finding it hard to think, helped sustain me. Maintaining space to think relationally with supervisees was challenging but enjoyable. It certainly felt a welcome thinking space for all in the midst of the busyness of the job.

Contemplating Catalyse?

Doing this work, I never envisaged that part of the journey would be taking the step towards contributing to teaching. Nor would I have imagined marking others’ work. I attended the 25 year anniversary event of the Catalyse Practitioner Training Course when there was an active reach out to new people wanting to get involved. Even then, I did not consider I could do it. However perhaps it was then that the seed was planted. Reflecting on this now, I wonder about where I had put the course trainers on the map? Perhaps I had placed them in an ‘unreachable’ place. Had they seemed different, separate and far away from where I placed myself on the map? Despite this, several years later when I was exploring different options for my career, I reached out to Catalyse via Dawn Bennett.

Getting past the snags

I’m not sure what I was hoping for but perhaps this was the start of me ‘dipping my toe in’. Being aware of my own patterns, I know when overwhelmed with anxiety it pulls from me a desire to say ‘I can’t do it’. Over time I have learned to rationalise; ‘can I really not do it or do I just think I can’t?’. However this experience was a gentle but interesting one. Through conversation with Dawn I became aware of the possibilities and the variety of work within Catalyse. There was further ‘dipping my toe in’ by attending a Personal Reformulation meeting and feeling welcome.

One step at a time

I wanted a work/life balance, so getting involved with marking seemed like a good practical fit. Having not done it before though, I was unsure. A buddy system in place helped it feel like a safe and supported way to get started. I was surprised at how interesting it was and how much I learned. Marking was much more of a reciprocal process than I had expected! The biggest hurdle was teaching on the practitioner course. However teaming up with another in trainer pairs enabled me to feel I was ‘held in safe hands’.

I have experimented between safe and comfortable areas and pushing myself with newer territory. It is all a learning experience. It was said to me that if I waited to become an ‘expert’ in this, I might never do it. Perhaps the way to become ‘expert’ (in the loosest sense because we know CAT is not an ‘expert’ model), was to just do it. This resonated, and I was reminded of my journey with reflective practice. I recalled the lightbulb moment of realising that other ‘expert’ facilitators did not know where they were going. Instead, they trusted in the process. This may be similar; trust in the CAT tools, scaffolding and maybe you can’t go far wrong.

Roles for you too?

The world of CAT is expanding. With HEE funding for CAT now established, the value of the model is finally being recognised and invested in. With this comes greater opportunities. We know that we bring our patterns to work and you will bring your own patterns (just like my scaredy CAT and fraudulent CAT). Maybe you have a pattern of jumping straight in or maybe like me you like to dip a toe in and test the water. Whatever your pattern, I would recommend trying it – you never know what might happen or where you will end up.

For our 2022 intake, we are running two cohorts of Year 1 trainees. With an expanded intake, we are particularly keen to expand the pool of those who support the training course. If you’d like to become more involved with Catalyse in any way, then get in touch with us. You can read more about the range of training and other roles at this link.

CAT Practitioner Training – 2022 intake

Are you planning to apply for the 2022 intake of the Catalyse two year Practitioner Training in Cognitive Analytic Therapy? If so, please note that the initial deadline for applications is just over a month away, on Friday 6th May. You can find all the information you need through this link to the course page. We look forward to receiving your applications, and to interviews on 24th June 2022.

We have been looking over feedback from recent cohorts on what the experience of training has been like. One which was shared with consent for use on our website was as follows:

“An excellent psychotherapy practitioner level course that transformed the way I practice psychological therapy; I feel better able to help the clients and patients I work with and also to accept the help I cannot give.” (2018-2020 cohort)

We were heartened by this reflection. Obviously we can’t guarantee this will be the experience for all; each trainee will take something different from the training experience. But we are looking forward to recommencing the course after a year’s gap and seeing what learning we co-create with members of the next cohort.

November 2021 News

It’s been a while since we published a newsletter to update on new developments. At our recent Executive group meeting in November 2021 we thought we’d try updating more regularly on the blog. If you’re interested in following Catalyse activities this is another way to stay informed.

Practitioner Training

We made the decision to defer the next intake of the Practitioner Training until 2022. However this doesn’t seem to have made 2021 a less busy year. We’re pleased to have had a great deal of interest in the course already. The deadline for applications is May 6th next year and we look forward to checking our inbox then. Marisol Cavieres provided her final training day in October, and has now moved on from her tutor role after ten years of working with us. This makes way for trainer Jo Coggins to take on the tutor role for our new October 2022 intake, working alongside Kathyrn Pemberton who is the tutor for the 2021 cohort.

People

This year we’ve also had further additions in that David Harvey has joined us as an associate. Jenny Marshall has also joined and taken on a lead role for Personal Reformulations. Additionally, Cath Laverty has come on board in a Non-Executive Director role. Glenys Parry made the transition to a Non-Executive Director role after retiring from her Executive and Finance roles at the end of August. Her inimitable mix of wisdom, strategic precision, seemingly limitless practical skill, plus her warmth, irreverence and humour, have aided Catalyse since its inception. We miss her in our Executive meetings. However we’re pleased she’ll remain involved in a number of other ways. Alongside their practitioner training roles, Dawn Bennett and Sarah Littlejohn are now Co-Chairs of Catalyse and Dawn is Finance Director.

CPD

After a pandemic-related pause, four CPD events over the second half of this year have been well received. Our December event on Therapy for Parents and the Family Court Process is the most well-subscribed of the year, but there are still spaces if you wish to book on. David Harvey will be repeating his in-person CPD day on CAT as a Tool for Leadership on Thursday 5th May 2022. More details and booking options for this will be available soon.

CPD lead Jo Coggins is in touch with several colleagues about a number of other stimulating CPD days over the coming year. We’ve streamlined the CPD proposal process so that there is a bit less form-filling. Instead the process includes more conversation with Jo to begin developing a proposal. We hope this will help prospective presenters move from an idea to something firm. If you have chats with Jo on Zoom you may not spot her swapping a tentative pencil for a more confident pen. Have no doubt she will be working towards getting a definite date in the calendar. Then the website work gets properly underway and we can start to advertise your event.

Many of you completed our CPD survey earlier this year. In response, for 2022 we’re planning to offer a range of different events to suit different pockets and purposes. This includes a mix of face-to-face and online events, and we will share more details soon.

Catalyse Training Films

It’s just over a year since the Catalyse training films became available to stream. Vimeo recently informed us they have had over one thousand views. We’re about to launch a brief survey to ask more about the experience of those who have used them to date in training, or their own learning. Catalyse practitioner course trainees have direct access to them throughout training. Other CAT Practitioner training courses and Clinical Psychology courses have purchased subscriptions too, and some have also arranged for their trainees to have direct access at a small cost-per-head fee. Being able to watch the films at any time means that learners can use the materials more flexibly. In addition to viewing them direct during remote training days, they can also review them in their own time.

We didn’t really anticipate that individuals might want to subscribe to the films as a preparation for training in CAT. However we’ve discovered that there is some interest in this. As a result we’re reviewing the subscription costs to make it more possible for people to access them in this way. We’ll share details of new subscription arrangements shortly.

Training Films: Take Two

Not content with one series of materials, supporting initial skills development in cognitive analytic therapy, we are well underway with a second series. This is thanks to a generous donation from a charitable endowment fund by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. Their contribution is enabling Kathryn Pemberton and a small group of CAT colleagues to plan and produce a further five short films, in conjunction with Brickoven Media and a number of local CAT colleagues.

The first series is suitable for introductory and year 1 practitioner training. Using different fictional scenarios, this second series of films will demonstrate a range of situations presenting more complex therapeutic challenges. From countertransference and strong expressed emotions, to rupture linked to values and world-views, the films aim to demonstrate more advanced CAT skills and competences. Again they will not be striving to show ‘perfect’ clinical practice. Instead, they explore the richness of such therapeutic encounters and possible responses by CAT therapists. As learning resources we hope they will facilitate exploration, discussion and debate around more advanced CAT skills and competences.

The recent weekend of improvisation and filming at GMMH premises in Manchester deserves a blog in its own right. Until that emerges, you can see a few visual highlights and glimpses of therapists who kindly gave up parts of their Sundays to help us, on the #CatalyseFilms hashtag on Twitter. If you’re not on Twitter you can scroll back to view the Twitter feed here on the website.

Staying involved with Catalyse

As ever, we welcome approaches from ACAT-accredited CAT therapists across the North of England who would like to become involved in the work of Catalyse in some way. There are plenty of possibilities. You can read more about how to go about this in Dawn and Glenys’ guidelines here. And of course you can always contact us through our administrator Frances Free.

Further Update on Our Next CAT Practitioner Training Intake

Thanks to all who have submitted applications for our 2020 CAT Practitioner Training in time for the initial deadline of 8th May.  We have contacted all those who have applied, with the news that unfortunately the training will now be delayed until 2021. 

You can read a statement from Dawn Bennett, Course Director, in the download below.

practitioner-course-applicants-update-8-May-2020.docx

 

In this she outlines how the trainers’ group have considered pros and cons of an autumn 2020 start date.  However, on reflection, the preference is now to postpone the start date to Spring or Autumn of 2021 (date to be confirmed).

During this pause we plan to develop a range of new training materials.  These will include resources for blended learning, video based teaching materials, and supports for remote supervision and therapy.  We expect these are likely to form a greater part of future provision.  Our current cohorts will complete their training using these new materials and approaches.

Online interviews will go ahead as planned on 12th June for those who have already applied.

Please note that we welcome further applications for this intake.   We will arrange further interview dates in the summer.  If places remain, we may offer interviews again closer to the start of the course.

If you need any further information, then, as ever, do feel free to contact us.  We will of course update the website with any further updates.  You can follow us on Twitter – @CatalyseC – for pointers to news about this, and to stay connected with others in the CAT community.